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Keywords:

  • falls;
  • caregiver burden;
  • depression;
  • elderly

Abstract

Background

Little attention has been paid to the impact on caregivers who provide care to a family member who has falls. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether falls of care recipients are associated with caregivers' burden.

Methods

A cross-sectional study of 1874 community-dwelling care recipients and 1478 caregivers was conducted. We examined the characteristics of care recipients and caregivers, including demographic characteristics, depressive mood as assessed by the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15), the basic activities of daily living (bADL), fall history in the past 6 months, and physician-diagnosed chronic diseases to determine whether there was an association with caregivers' burden as assessed by the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI).

Results

A total of 567 care recipients (30.3%) had a history of falls in the past 6 months. The mean ZBI score of caregivers with falls was significantly higher than that of caregivers without falls. There were negative correlations between the ZBI score and recipient bADL score and positive correlations between the ZBI score and GDS-15 scores of the recipient and caregiver, the level of severity of dementia, and the Charlson comorbidity index. Male recipient, fall history, behavioral disturbance, and dementia had significantly higher ZBI scores than those of controls. The stepwise multiple regression analyses found that the GDS-15 score of caregivers and recipients, level of severity of dementia, bADL score, and fall history were independently associated with the ZBI score.

Conclusion

Among the community-dwelling frail elderly, falls are associated with caregiver burden even when controlling for various possible confounding factors. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.